Winrock International requests the support of a remote Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer for a paired remote volunteer assignment. This assignment assumes that an American remote volunteer will work collaboratively with a local Ghanaian volunteer to jointly implement the training. All activities for the U.S. volunteer will be carried out remotely, there is no expectation of in-person travel for the American volunteer. The local Ghanaian counterpart will provide on-the-ground support directly to the host. Together, the volunteers will train 60 members of Darsfield Village Farms & Outgrowers (Darsfarm) on the construction and operation of a solar crop dryer for organic fruits (papaya, pineapple, mango) and vegetables (chili pepper, tomato, okra, garden eggs). It is expected that the crop solar dryer will be built during the assignment timeframe. The volunteers will also work in collaboration with the members to prepare a training manual for the training of farmers in the construction and operation of the crop solar dryer. The volunteers and the host will communicate with the host in advance of the assignment to indicate what equipment, components, and/or tools will be necessary for the host to acquire before the training.
Darsfield Village Farms & Outgrowers (Darsfarm) is a commercial producer and processor of organic fruits (pineapple, papaya, watermelon and mango), vegetables (chili pepper, tomato, onion, mushroom and salad leaves) and plant medicine (moringa & xylopia aethiopica powder). The organization was established in 2016 as Darsfarm Village Farms & Ventures with the aim of providing organic farming and training to farmers. It expanded its activities to include 168 outgrowers in the Volta, Central, Eastern, Greater-Accra, Upper-West, Northern regions of Ghana. Darsfarm works with small holder farmers in rural communities to produce organic products that eliminate the use of agrochemicals and fertilizers in food chains; and to add value to some selected foods produced. Currently, it has 418 members (275 men, 143 women). The farmers have 4800 acres of farmland, and currently cultivate 2900 acres of organic papaya and pineapple, 1100 acres of organic pepper, ginger, garlic, turia, salad leaves, onions and other vegetables and 800 acres of cassava. Darsfarm carries out its activities in collaboration with Darsfield EarthCare & Farm-Tech Foundation (Darsfoundation), an NGO aimed at promoting smallholder farming for food security and job creation for rural folk; in addition to protecting and promoting indigenous seeds for the tropics, land and waterbodies through integrated sustainable organic farming technologies.
Crop drying remains a problem among farmers in Ghana. Even though the farmers take advantage of the high average temperatures to dry their crops at a low cost, uncertainties about the weather, the slow drying rate, contamination of the produce by extraneous materials and loss of nutrients due to direct exposure to the sunshine limit the use of open sun drying on the floor. Furthermore, the commercial drying of large quantities of produce requires appropriate drying infrastructure that is designed to suit the crops. Fruits and vegetables may be dried with customized solar dryers and low-temperature dehydrators equipped with a temperature regulator. Solar or hybrid biomass-solar dryer systems also offer an advantage for the use of agricultural wastes to generate heat for drying. Currently, Darsfarm’s members face a major challenge with post-harvest losses due to poor handling practices after harvesting. Organic fruits and vegetables are highly perishable since shelf-life is limited to a few days under normal refrigeration conditions. The organization wishes to assist its farmers with innovative agricultural technologies to add value to their products, prolong their shelf-life and meet minimal international standards. The training will enhance the postharvest management practices of members to reduce the high incidence of losses which lead to food insecurity, increase the shelf life, quality, and marketability of the organic fruits and vegetables they produce.
The volunteer should have the following qualifications and background:
Higher university degree in Agricultural and Biosystems Engineering or another related field
Minimum 5 years of experience in the design and fabrication of crop dryers
Experience in training and transferring hands-on knowledge to adults
Good report writing, verbal, and communication skills
Ability to use a computer for report writing and presentations without the assistance of others
Internal Number: GHA147.R
About Winrock International
Winrock International is a recognized leader in U.S. and international development, providing solutions to some of the world’s most complex social, agricultural and environmental challenges. Inspired by its namesake Winthrop Rockefeller, Winrock’s mission is to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity and sustain natural resources. Winrock is a nonprofit organization that implements a portfolio of more than 150 agriculture, environment and social development projects in over 40 countries. It has annual revenue of $100 million, employing over 1,000 staff around the world managed from five Winrock offices and dozens of project offices. Winrock combines technical expertise with entrepreneurial innovation to improve lives around the globe.